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tv   ABC World News With Diane Sawyer  ABC  June 7, 2012 5:30pm-6:00pm PDT

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tonight on "world news," hard hit. the biggest lawsuit in the history of sport. thousands of former football players suing the nfl. will their stand against brain injury change the game forever? health mystery. the nation's disease hunters race to find the cause of a new outbreak of deadly e. coli. an abc news exclusive. brian ross tracks down the bullies hounding and tricking americans into paying millions of dollars for debts they do not owe. and storm of bees. stopping traffic. turning homes into hives. why is this happening? and, can you outwit them? good evening. we begin with a kind of battle
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cry from some of the toughest athletes in this country. former football players, thousands of them, joining together to say no one should pay the price they have paid for the game they love. it is the biggest lawsuit in the history of sports. the target, the nfl, and the accusation that the league covered up how many players had suffered serious head injuries. it is a suit that could change the way the game is played, from the pros on the field to children in american schools. and abc's chris cuomo tells us about this first quarter in a very big fight. >> reporter: the signature of professional football -- violent contact -- is now the basis for the biggest court fight in the history of sport. the nfl has been sacked in a lawsuit by over 2,000 former players and their families. the charge? the league knew and deliberately hid the dangers of head trauma to players. jim mcmahon led the chicago bears to super bowl victory. he's now one of the players suing the league, and spoke to espn. >> we knew there was going to be
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a chance for injury. but we didn't know about the head trauma. and they did. and that's -- that's the whole reason for this lawsuit. >> reporter: the hits that excite audiences and are arguably promoted by the league as a calling card for the game, have been found by "espn sport science" to be the force equivalent of a sledge hammer blow to the head. one study found the average player takes 900 to 1,500 head shots a season. >> multiple hits to the head, multiple concussions can and we know does potentially cause long-term side effects that is irreversible. >> reporter: the concern is that recent suicides of some of the sport's biggest stars like junior seau, dave duerson and ray easterling, may be related to head trauma suffered during their playing years. the players claim no one knows the science and destructive potential of these collisions better than the nfl. included in the complaint is the charge that from 1994 to 2007, the league had its own committee to supposedly study the issue but instead generated false findings about head trauma.
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the committee found, quote, returning to play after a concussion does not involve significant risk of a second injury, either in the same game or during the season. >> it breaks your heart, man. a guy that you've known for years and years, that he can't recognize you or doesn't have any idea who you are or anybody else is, that's tough to deal with. >> reporter: the league's response is, the nfl has long made player safety a priority and continues to do so. any allegation that the nfl sought to mislead players has no merit. that's the league's statement. >> but what about this? is this enough pressure from all these players to get them to consider changing anything in the game? >> reporter: moves the heart but doesn't seem to move the league at this point. because the committee they put together didn't even have brain experts on it. also the issue of, how do you change the game of football without changing why people like to watch it? >> and the billions of dollars that come in. again, the biggest lawsuit in the history of sport. thank you so much, chris cuomo. and in other big news today, secretary of state hillary
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clinton unleashed a verbal attack today to the president of syria, saying, it is time for him to go. there are troubling reports of a new massacre in syria, unconfirmed. but when the u.n. tried to investigate, bullets rained down on them. abc's global affairs anchor christiane amanpour has more. >> reporter: trying to confirm reports of another massacre in syria, unarmed u.n. monitors were first blocked from getting into the area, and then fired upon today. >> the u.n. monitors were shot at with small arms. >> reporter: none of them was injured. pro-government terror squads have been blamed for killing as many as 78 civilians, including nine children. outside the town of hama. we're still trying to verify these pictures, but an eyewitness told the bbc, paramilitaries went on a killing spree from house to house. "they start to attack the city," he said, "they're using weapons
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like knives and machine guns." and an activist who lives in hama and who wanted to keep his identity hidden, told abc news today, there was heavy government shelling. >> we are living in fear. too many areas in syria are being under attack every day. every day. >> reporter: secretary of state hillary clinton had her harshest words yet for president bashar assad. >> simply unconscionable. assad has doubled down on his brutality and duplicity. and syria will not, cannot, be peaceful, stable or certainly democratic until assad goes. >> reporter: a former general in assad's army tells me that only outside intervention will force assad to go. and witnesses to his reign of terror fear the worst is yet to come. >> being arrested, that would be that i am dead. >> what dramatic footage from that man in syria. but let me ask you this -- there are huge consequences for
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the united states. should assad go. they must want very much to be able to move him out, but -- >> reporter: but they don't know how to implement the way to get him out. of course, there are huge benefits. not just the compelling moral reason for going in there. but the strategic reason. if you get rid of assad, who is iran's only arab ally and friend, you really minimize iran's influence in that region. assad leads iran to hezbollah and hamas. and that's its influence there. but okay, there are elections, diane, especially here in the united states, and nobody is really willing to lead on this right now. >> they see it as an opportunity, but they can't act. >> reporter: seems to be they don't want to act right now. >> all right, christiane, thanks so much. and we turn now from syria to the heart of the nation's capital, and a firestorm today as republicans claim the white house has been leaking national security secrets to the press. to make president obama look good. but democrats joined republicans in saying "enough, these leaks must stop." and here's abc's jon karl on it
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all. >> reporter: the stories depicted a decisive president and are chock-full of classified intelligence. the secret u.s. cyber attack on iran's nuclear program. the double agent who helped foil an al qaeda attack. the secret terrorist kill list maintained by the president. some of the leaks are already under investigation by the fbi. and today, u.s. officials told abc news the director of national intelligence is now doing more lie detector tests of people with access to classified information. republicans say the leaking is politically motivated and possibly criminal. you think it is coming right from the white house? >> yes i do. to say otherwise defies credibility. three stories within 30 days painting a picture of a strong president. >> reporter: should there be prosecutions here? >> absolutely. >> regardless of how politically useful these leaks may have been to the president, they have to stop. these leaks have to stop. >> reporter: and today, top democrats on the congressional intelligence committees joined
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republicans in denouncing the leaks. >> this has to stop. when people say, they don't want to work with the united states, because they can't trust us to keep a secret, that's serious. >> it puts us at risk. it puts lives at risk. >> reporter: next up, congressional hearings with tough questions for the administration. today, an obama administration spokesman said they take all necessary and appropriate steps to prevent the leaking of classified information, and that any suggestion that they've leaked sensitive information for political purposes has no basis in fact and has been denied by the authors themselves. diane? >> okay, jon, thank you. and also in washington, the latest on your money. fed chairman ben bernanke, a man who can move markets with a single word, spoke out today about the future of the economy. he said he is not ready to say that the economy is slowing down. nor is he ready to trigger a new round of stimulus, though, he said, he will take action in the future if he needs to. wall street slowed down after
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yesterday's surge. today, the dow saw a small gain, closing up 46 points. and there were some record-breaking numbers, as well, on weather. we learned today that this spring was the hottest ever recorded. the average temperature for march, april and may, 57.1 degrees, not just record-breaking, but smashing the records, more than five degrees above average. and, also, on this landscape, twisters, wildfires and hail. and here's abc's clayton sandell. >> reporter: tonight, the western plains are bracing for the next round of storms that overnight pounded wyoming and colorado. a system packing golf ball-sized hail that buried cars. at least five tornadoes and flash floods that tore through artie barton's colorado springs home. >> we had a beautiful 55 gallon aquarium with all our beautiful fish in it that are gone, just gone, dead. >> reporter: from drenching downpours to that enormous
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400 square mile wildfire, the biggest in the country still blazing in new mexico, extreme events are part of nature. but climate scientists worry they are already becoming more intense as humans warm the pl planet. >> the central rockies, the plains state will be above normal. but the nation as a whole will see cooler temperatures. really depends on where you live. >> reporter: tonight, the clouds are back in parts of colorado, wyoming and nebraska are under tornado watch. more severe thunderstorms are on the way and maybe even worse. diane? >> clayton sandell reporting in. and now, we turn to an abc news exclusive. a massive, new scam under way tonight across the country, taking advantage of a lot of americans. it begins with a member of your family answering the phone. the con-men operating overseas pose as the police, hounding and tricking people into sending them money. abc's chief investigative correspondent brian ross set out on the trail.
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>> reporter: to get american consumers to pay debts they don't really owe, the scammers often pose as police officers, threatening to make arrests. >> my name is officer william johnson. >> reporter: and they somehow have the victim's social security number. >> let me reveal the last four digits of your social, it's 9-2-8-1. >> reporter: the calls to cindy gervais of new orleans started long after she and her husband had taken out and paid off an online loan. but she was told, falsely, she still owed more. >> and that i was a no-good deadbeat. that i would have the worst -- i would spend the night in jail and my family wouldn't be able to get me out. >> reporter: so she sent them more than $1,800 to pay off a debt she did not owe. authorities say the scammers buy their victims names and financial information from dishonest online payday loan brokers. >> that information is on the internet. and it's accessible to cease scam artists. >> reporter: federal authorities say the calls can be traced to a major organized crime group in india, where call centers have
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targeted hundreds of thousands of americans. abc news went to one of the companies alleged to be involved, where employees denied any knowledge of the scam, but refused to let us inside. >> can you please switch off this? >> reporter: federal authorities say the scam would not be possible without the help of american frontmen, including kirit patel of tracy, california. patel is accused by the federal trade commission of setting up the american companies where victims were told to send their payments. patel claims he knows nothing about the phone scam run out of india. >> i have no comment, sir. >> reporter: what do you mean? do you have an apology? >> i have no comments. i have retained an attorney. i have no comments. >> reporter: where's the money? can you tell us that? >> i have no comment. >> reporter: the federal trade commission has frozen patel's bank account. but most of the money, millions of dollars, has already gone to india, where there is little the u.s. can do to get it back or to stop the scam from continuing, diane. >> big heads up tonight. thank you, brian. and i know you'll have more of your reporting tonight on "nightline." be sure to watch.
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still ahead here on "world news," the nation's top disease hunters racing to solve a mysterious outbreak and stop it in its tracks. ♪[music plays] ♪[music plays] ♪[music plays] purina one beyond. food for your cat or dog. begins with back pain and a choice. take advil, and maybe have to take up to four in a day. or take aleve,
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it is an especially virulent strain and a number of states are already effected. there is concern this outbreak will spread, and abc's david muir has been talking to the disease hunters and joins us now. >> reporter: good evening, diane. we know of at least a dozen cases, nearly a dozen, all of them with the same strain of e. coli across several states. and this evening, that race to determine the cause after a baby girl died from this particular strain. and just a short time ago, authorities in one state acknowledging they are just beginning their search. tonight, the nation's top disease hunters at the cdc are searching for a killer. the source of e. coli. here's what we know, those cases have been detected across four states. georgia, florida, alabama, and louisiana. and in new orleans, the most heartbreaking case, a baby girl, just 21 months old, dying from the disease. it's believed all of the victims have been sickened by the same strain of e. coli. not all strains are dangerous, but this one is. it carries what's called the
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0145 genetic fingerprint. one that produces a deadly toxin, a poison that can cause violent reactions, kidney damage and death. >> they're racing against the clock, because they want to figure out what the product is and get it out of the market before it sickens or kills anyone else. >> reporter: tonight, five of the cases are right in the cdc's backyard, near atlanta. late today amid growing concern, georgia authorities acknowledged they're at the starting point. >> we know that these cases are all linked. that would suggest there was a common sense somewhere along the way. we just don't know where. >> reporter: this is the time of year when these cases begin to make headlines. the weather gets warmer, the barbecues begin. and often the first suspicion turns to undercooked ground beef or chicken. and while they don't know if that's the case here, they remind us tonight to wash your hands after handling poultry. wash your fruits and vegetables. cook chicken and beef, particularly ground beef, all the way through. and if you think you already do that, that abc news experience experiment that opened all of our eyes. one kitchen, one diligent cook,
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mom sharon cohen, who had no idea she treated the chicken she was about to cook with glow germ powder, a product designed to simulate the spread of germs. she went on to clean it, prepare it, considering herself a careful cook. and yet, when we turned off the lights and turned on our glow light, we found the raw chicken juice was everywhere. it had splashed onto the windowsill, the soap dispenser, even on sharon herself. surprising for us all. tonight, we learned that it just so happens that the government in its ongoing effort to expand testing, began testing for this particular strain of e. coli in meat just three days ago, of course, we don't know if meat is the culprit. if so, that testing should help. diane, they are in a real race tonight to find a cause and also in a race to renew the warnings out there, with summer cooking season out there, because everyone is out at the barbecues and it becomes a little freer when we're all cooking. >> all right, thank you. thank you so much, david. and coming up right here on "world news," a bear caught on
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so, volunteers in oregon scraped the debris of all marine life and disposed of it inland, but a lot more debris is heading this way. and can it be that even bears need a summer vacation? take a look at this. a 200-pound bear has shown up in cape cod. the first bear ever known to have set foot on the peninsula, which is only accessible by water or one bridge. meaning either the bear swam from the mainland or braved the traffic on the bridge with the rest of the beach goers. so, far, he's been spotted at night, in a chicken coop, a golf course and at a cranberry bog. officials say they may try to tranquilize him, take him back to the mainland. in the meantime, one local resident said, "i just hope he has a good time." coming up, they will turn your home into a hive. tiny little neighbors you may not know may be inside your house. the bee fever sweeping the nation. bee fever sweeping the
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they are stopping traffic and driving people from their homes. building hives in the walls? we're talking about bees gone wild. so, what is behind this surge of bees? here's abc's nick schifrin. >> reporter: in texas today, bee keepers had to break through brick to rescue a house invaded by 750,000 bees. the home was so infested, jocelyn ruben ran for cover. >> they already came through the sheetrock. now it's real bad. it's in the dining room area. >> reporter: but despite the buzz-kill of bees behaving badly, there's an exploding trend of people choosing to raise their own bees.
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and that's where andrew cote comes in. >> call me if you have a bee problem. >> reporter: he is a beekeeper that works with the new york police to respond to bee energies, that often occur when those hobbyists lose control. bees can take over cars, lamp posts and trees. >> beekeeping is a great hobby. it is relaxing and calming. >> reporter: relaxing? calming? cote may not be crazy to you, but he's never been busier. is he took me to his newest hive, atop a luxury hotel. now is probably not the best time to admit that i'm scared of bees. he wanted to show me that beekeeping is a science. you have to give them water, otherwise they may choose to visit your neighbor. happy bees stay home. >> happy bees stay home. >> reporter: if you are surrounded and scared like i was, you should try to stay calm, and watch this, i'm calm -- and the bees ignore me. what's amazing is, i have 1,000 bees in my hand.
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actually, they could care less. but here is another tip. don't talk too much around bees, because they target your carbon dioxide. as my nose found out the hard way. all right, so, i've just been stung on my nose. not very comfortable. >> that's like a war wound. >> reporter: it's like a war wound, huh? apparently i have a war wound from this story. ouch. nick schifrin, abc news, new york. >> don't talk about the bees around the bees. we're happy to report nick may a made a full recovery. thank you so much for watching. we're always here at abcnews.com. and we'll se the ross mirkarimi ethics case. an exclusive on mysterious allegations the sheriff is leveling tonight against two city leader autos score one for the students in the heritage high senior prank scandal. good news may only be temporary. >> the sierra llama murder
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suspect. abc 7 news learned the disturbing reason his attorney had to withdraw from this case. >> california's teen unemployment rate is 300% higher than the general population what. is being done as we head into summer. >> this seems like the mayor is using dirtiest tricks to try to smear my client and force him to resign. he's not going to prevail. >> ross mirk ream ease' attorney going on the offensive, good evening. >> city attorney dennis herera is facing harsh criticism for using a video of mirkarimi's wife as a bargaining chip its an accusation he denies. dan noyes is here with the latest for us on this. >>

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